Session IV

Suzuki Roshi: “When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do.”

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: “The most proper, effective and beneficial practice of the bardo is to work with this notion of being in the present.  If this present moment, this nowness, is the Bardo of this Life, then be in that.  Do not admire anything else.  If your presence of mind is in the state of the Bardo of Dying, then do not admire anything else. Be in that space.  Buddhist practice is being who we are and being what we are.  When the bardo of dying comes, if we try to be somewhere else, such as in this lifetime, then that is not Buddhist practice.  We are not being who we are.  At that time who we are is a dying person.  We are the dying person and we have to be there when it happens – unlike Woody Allen who said, “I’m not afraid of death, but I don’t want to be there when it happens.”  The point here is that we should try to actually be where we are and be who we are.  Do not be scared of being who you are.  Trying to be in the present is the practice of all three yanas.  No matter what part of the bardo teachings we study, the most important thing is to try to be in the present.  Try to be in whatever environment you are in.  Try to be in that environment, without altering it, without changing it.” 

Norm Fischer: “When we receive phenomena as “suchness” (a word that connotes the mind’s perfect appearance as phenomena), we don’t experience what we call suffering. What we call suffering, and experience as suffering, isn’t actually suffering. It is confusion, illusion, misperception, like seeing a snake that turns out to be merely a crooked stick. “Suchness” is the only thing we ever really experience. . . . Reality is not, as we imagine it to be, difficult and painful. It is always only just as it is: suchness.”

“Suchness is deep, pure, and silent. But when the winds of delusion blow, its surface stirs and what we call suffering results.” “Delusion’ is the place we are fleeing. ‘Enlightenment’ is the destination we seek. But it is a false destination. . . . [in essence] there is nowhere to go and no way to get there. We have been there all along. . . . Practice is both a sudden (we have flashes of insight) and a gradual (it develops over a lifetime) identity shift.

Trungpa Rinpoche: “The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.”